LONDON: Forecast-beating earnings in the tech sector lifted European shares on Wednesday and the dollar strengthened on growing expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates before the end of the year.
Oil prices edged up before U.S. data that may signal whether a supply glut in the top consuming country was easing, while the stronger dollar weighed on commodity prices.
Wall Street looked set to open higher , according to index futures.
The pan-European STOXX 600 share index rose 0.9 percent, led by the technology sector after SAP, Europe’s largest software group, and ASML Holding, a supplier to semiconductor makers, reported quarterly results that beat forecasts.
The tech sector has been in focus this week since Japan’s Softbank agreed to buy Britain’s chip designer ARM for $32 billion.
The STOXX 600 technology index was up 2.5 percent on the day and nearly 10 percent since the start of last week, heading for its biggest two-week gain in more than seven years.
“So far, European earnings have been better than expected, with investors focusing on company guidance to form a view on the market’s likely direction,” Christian Stocker, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich, said.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.3 percent, having reached its highest in almost nine months last week.
Shares rose in Hong Kong, Australia, India and much of Southeast Asia, but retreated in South Korea and China.
Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.3 percent, on track for its first decline in seven days.
Investors’ risk appetite, which has recovered rapidly from the Brexit shock in late June, received a sobering reminder after the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecasts for the next two years on Tuesday, citing uncertainty over Britain’s looming exit from the European Union.
However, strong U.S. housing starts data on Tuesday, which led investors to assign a greater probability to the Fed raining interest rates this year, lifted the dollar to a four-month high against a basket of its peers. The dollar index hit its highest since March 10 before pulling back to stand up 0.1 percent on the day.
The euro fell 0.1 percent to $1.1004, while the yen weakened 0.5 percent to 106.62 per dollar.
“The dollar is now being supported by rising U.S. rate expectations. The likelihood of a Fed rate hike before the end of the year that is being priced in by the markets has almost returned to the levels seen before the EU referendum,” said Thu Lan Nguyen, currency strategist at Commerzbank.
Sterling, meanwhile, recovered all its earlier losses against the U.S. currency after a Bank of England survey showed no clear evidence of a slowdown in economic activity since the Brexit vote.
The pound, which fell 1 percent on Tuesday, rose a full cent to $1.3186 after the survey was published. It was last at $1.3180, up 0.5 percent on the day.
Oil prices edged up before the latest weekly U.S. crude inventory numbers. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 22 cents a barrel at $46.88.
The price of copper, the worst-performing commodity so far this year, fell as the stronger dollar prompted investors to take profits on earlier gains. London copper fell 0.8 percent to $4,946.50.
Gold also fell and last stood at about $1,326 an ounce, down 0.5 percent on the day.
In debt markets, German 10-year government bond yields held steady at minus 0.09 percent.
Germany sold 3.4 billion euros of new five-year bonds at a record low yield at auction of minus 0.51 percent. The bonds carried a zero percent coupon and drew investor bids worth less than the amount on offer.
Copyright Reuters, 2016
Courtesy : BRecorder